Devastation in Gaza as Israel wages war on Hamas

Devastation in Gaza as Israel wages war on Hamas - Domestic News - News

The Unprecedented Human Toll of Conflict in Gaza: A Tragic Reality for Children and Communities

The ongoing conflict in the Gaza Strip has resulted in a shocking surge in child fatalities over a four-month period, surpassing the number of children killed worldwide during the previous four years, as per the data from the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). This disheartening revelation was shared by UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini via social media, who termed the figure as “staggering.”

According to the UNRWA and Palestinian health officials, a total of 12,300 children lost their lives in Gaza between October 2023 and February 2024. In contrast, the number of child casualties globally during the years 2019 and 2022 stood at 12,193. This alarming disparity underscores the gravity of the situation unfolding in Gaza.

Meanwhile, other developments surrounding the conflict include:

1. US Forces Target Houthi Weapons in Yemen: In a recent development, U.S. forces destroyed four drones and one surface-to-air missile in Houthi-controlled regions of Yemen on February 22, 2023. The strikes came following the group’s launch of an anti-ship ballistic missile into the Gulf of Aden that failed to hit any ships, according to U.S. Central Command.
2. Devastating Impact on Gaza: The ongoing bombardment of Gaza by Israeli forces has brought about the destruction of entire neighborhoods, crippling the medical system and razing hundreds of mosques. The Ministry of Endowments and Religious Affairs in Gaza reported that at least 1,000 of the approximately 1,200 mosques – including ancient sites – have been partially or completely destroyed since October 7, 2022. Additionally, more than 100 religious leaders, such as preachers, scholars, imams, muezzins (those who perform the call to prayer), and hafiz (Muslims who have memorized the Quran), have lost their lives in Israeli attacks.
3. Difficulties Faced by Palestinians During Ramadan: Gazan residents are grappling with the harsh realities of not being able to observe a peaceful month of fasting, festivities, and worship during Ramadan this year. Palestinians are struggling with limited access to essentials like food, water, and communal meals due to the ongoing conflict. Some residents told News Finder that they cannot even find enough space for nightly taraweeh prayers because places of worship have been destroyed, and many are unable to share meals with their relatives due to forced displacement.
4. Meeting Between White House Officials and Community Leaders: In an effort to hear concerns about the situation in Gaza from Arab, Muslim, and Palestinian-American community leaders, senior White House officials are scheduled to meet with them in Chicago on February 23, 2023. The gathering is part of the Biden White House’s ongoing efforts to address concerns regarding Islamophobia in the United States following October 7, 2022.
5. Hezbollah’s Continued Fight Against Israel: Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah, vowed to continue the armed group’s fight against Israel, stating that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had “lost the war” in Gaza. The fighting on Lebanon’s southern border between Hezbollah and Israeli forces has led to Israel ordering the evacuation of communities along the Lebanese border.
6. Investigation into Attacks Against UN Facilities: Following an Israeli strike that killed five Palestinians and wounded another 22 at a UNRWA food distribution center in Rafah, Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini called for an investigation into the attacks against UN facilities and emphasized the need for accountability.
7. EU’s Urgent Appeal for Humanitarian Aid: contact Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell expressed concern about the dire situation in Gaza and urged action to ensure the population’s survival. He thanked U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken for his efforts to provide humanitarian assistance but also pressed for the opening of land routes into Gaza.
8. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s Discussion with Israeli Parents: In a heartfelt conversation, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with the parents of Itay Chen – an Israeli-American hostage killed on October 7, 2022. Blinken stated that there was a “very strong proposal on the table right now,” but ultimately emphasized the importance of Israel’s ability to defend itself.
9. Call for Accountability Following Attacks on UN Facilities: The head of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), Philippe Lazzarini, called for an investigation into attacks against UN facilities following an Israeli strike that killed five Palestinians and injured another 22 at a food distribution center in Rafah. Lazzarini emphasized the need for accountability and shared that UNRWA had provided the Israeli military with the coordinates of all its facilities across Gaza.
10. EU’s Urgent Call for Action: contact Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell met with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken at the State Department and expressed concern about the “very survival” of the population in Gaza, urging action to address the situation. Borrell thanked Blinken for his personal efforts to secure humanitarian assistance but also pressed for the opening of land routes into Gaza, as airdrops have limitations and are often less effective than land deliveries.